A Journey Of Faith

By Marcy Barthelette

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory — this was during Herod’s kingship — a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the east. They asked around, Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him. Matthew 2:1-2 MSG

I’m a little behind the curve this week. Epiphany was observed in our church this past Sunday and our Youth Director, Evan Reed delivered an inspiring message about worship as displayed by the Magi and how we can incorporate many kinds of worship into our everyday lives. Epiphany is, in fact, observed on January 6, and so I’m squeaking my little message in just before the deadline. Let’s travel back to ancient times for one more chapter in the beautiful journey of Advent.

On the night of Jesus’ birth, a bright star appears in the sky, brighter than anything experts who study the heavens had seen or will ever see. A group of scholars living in a land far to the east of Bethlehem see the star and believe it to be more than just a brilliant light in the night sky. These men have studied prophecies and believe it to be the sign of an important birth, one that is destined to bring sweeping change to the world. And being curious scientists of that day and believers of a higher power, they determine that a journey is in order.

Now, this will be no easy journey and these are men of substance in their day. They travel as comfortably as one can across a hot, barren desert. Camels carry them and servants assist them, but the trip is still quite arduous. They are not kings as some would think, but they are highly respected men and so, when they arrive in Jerusalem, though tired and dirty, their presence causes quite a stir among the populace. Human nature being as it is, men and women question the appearance of a group of strange, yet obviously learned and probably wealthy men in their city. Their rumblings are soon picked up by spies of King Herod, who is always on the lookout for anyone who might suggest questioning his authority. They bring news of the strange men looking for an Infant King to Herod and Herod grows angry and afraid. He calls his advisors together to seek their wisdom and then secretly arranges a meeting with the scholars from the east and tells them he has heard of the Child they seek and wants to worship  Him too. He asks them to find the Baby and bring back news of His location.

They told him, “Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet wrote it plainly: It’s you, Bethlehem, in Judah’s land, no longer bringing up the rear. From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel.”

Matthew 2:5-6

Herod is certainly not a good man and his purpose in sending the wise men to find the supposed King of the Jews and bring back word of Him is nothing more than a ploy to aid in destroying this new King who threatens his own royal position. The scholars set off, following the star that hovered over the Child. They find Him, kneel, worship him and present their gifts.

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the Child with Mary his mother, Falling to their knees, they honored Him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10-11 CEB

After spending time with Jesus they learn in a dream that Herod plans to kill the Child, so they leave unnoticed and return to their own country by another route.

It’s quite a dramatic ending to our Advent journey. Many questions will always linger in human hearts and minds; how many Wise Men were really on the journey, where did they come from, how could they just take off over the desert, endangering their very lives because of a brighter than normal star? The entire story of Jesus’ life here on earth leaves us with more questions than answers, but I think that was all a part of God’s plan. He wants us to be hungry for answers. He wants us to be seekers. He wants us to accept hardships that help us to learn more about Him. He wants us to just “Let Go” and give it all to Him. No matter how hard we try, we will always cling to bits and pieces of who we think we want to be but ultimately, He will be the one who writes the ending to each of our stories. In the meantime….

Lord Jesus, give us eyes to see you and a heart to believe so that we might glorify you in the bits and pieces of everyday life.
Ray Pritchard, Simple Christmas

2 Responses to “A Journey Of Faith”

  1. Sandy Dybedock says:

    This was interesting to know a truth that we all have questions and that GOD WANTS it that way. I have always wondered where the wise men came from. Most of my question come down to the answer that it was GOD’s plan and he can make anything happen. Such as, how did they cross a hot desert.
    Thank you and may GOD BLESS YOUR DAY!!

  2. Marcy says:

    Thank you, Sandy, for your response. I really do believe that God creates questions in our lives in order that we may seek his wisdom for answers and I have lots of questions so I will need to spend lots of time seeking. It keeps the journey fresh and alive.

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